There was an interesting discussion on Roissy’s blog this morning about age of consent. Does it make sense that (in some states) you can drive at 16, can’t have sex until 18, and can’t drink beer until 21?
To those who say the drinking age is necessary because teenagers will drink and drive, I say you should at least give them the choice of a driving license or a drinking license in that case. The driving laws lead to some ridiculous situations — where a teenager may drive between one state and another only by a route that avoids a 3rd in-between state, or depending on which of the two states he resides (both states would permit someone his age to drive within the state, but only one might allow a driver his age from the other state).
I presume that if it is constitutional to ban drinking for 20-year-olds, it would be constitutional to do so for 25-year-olds, and so on. I have served my kids alcoholic drinks which is legal for me to do at home; in one neighboring state it would be illegal (a law I would ignore), while in another neighboring state it would also be legal for me to buy them a drink in a restaurant but I would not be allowed to invite a 20-year-old friend to my house and serve her a drink, no matter how mature she was. 😛
The age of sexual consent laws are amazingly complicated and different for each state. For example, in some states, a 17-year-old couple may sleep together but when one of them has an 18th birthday they must abstain until the other one does as well (it doesn’t matter if they are engaged to be married, and they can’t get married before 18 in any state without parental consent).
I don’t deny the necessity of age-limit laws for all three types of activity, but I wish things were more logical.